Monday, 23 December 2019

Best Wishes from B.G.A.

I can't believe its that time again, no sooner has the season finished than Christmas is upon us again. That said it does give me the opportunity to wish you all the very best for the festive season, to thank you all for your company on the river this year, and to sincerely hope that 2020 offers you good health and good fishing once again.

Going into the Grayling season has not been as straight forward as I had hoped, and with the exception of a few "almost settled days", we have had to search hard for these elusive creatures. This has been made more difficult by the continuation
They haven't all been elusive!
of high and unsettled waters yet again. Never mind though, we will just have to wait until after Christmas and into the New Year to hopefully see the river falling and clearing again, which I am sure it will at some point. 

The 2019 season did bring some exciting moments to the salmon fishing once again, although there were some slow periods too when I thought we should have caught a few more, oh well that's fishing I suppose, however we did see some very good trout fishing on the river again this year, I always look forward to that, especially when there are a few flies hatching and the trout  can be tempted to the surface.

Anyway I for one am looking forward to what the 2020 season will bring and once the festive season is over, and we all get back to normal again, I am sure you will be too. 

The preliminary salmon catch returns are now in for the river Eden between Carlisle and Penrith, which I am sure the salmon fishers amongst you will be interested to know are looking quite encouraging, so here's hoping we can get our share next year!

"Tight Lines" to all and I look forward to catching up again in 2020.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

End of Season Wash Out

A big brown end to the season 
Unfortunately, as with many rivers this year, the end of the season on the Eden finished prematurely, with a deluge of water triggering a succession of cancellations as the persistent rainfall resulted in a series of high and coloured waters as you can see in the picture on the left.

Fortunately some of you were here for tuition purposes only, which was just as well given the uncontrollable conditions we were experiencing, however from a safety aspect, it did eventually get to the stage where I had to call a halt to that too as the river became very swollen and inaccessible in many places.

Returning a small Salmon to the river
However, we did manage a couple of salmon before the river became ridiculously high, and several seriously big browns attached themselves to our salmon flies too, which is not unusual in these larger waters later in the season, but they were all returned to the water unharmed being as the trout season was over. Jeff pictured right managed to hook land and return this small coloured salmon to the river before conditions became difficult again later in the day.

A very nice double figure Pike
Time is too short to waste though, and apart from one rather windy, difficult, but eventually successful day, spent on a Stillwater hunting Rainbow Trout, we did also manage to arrange a couple more days for the youngsters via Borderlines, but given that once again the rivers were out of order and Stillwaters were by far the best option, instead of a session for Salmon or trout our quarry was to be the elusive but formidable Pike

With this in mind the youngsters did themselves proud and  managed to catch a few Pike throughout the day, including this very nice specimen (above left) laid out on the unhooking mat. This powerful fish was none the worse for ware for its efforts and swam off very strongly when returned to the water, as seen here (below right).

A large Pike in excellent condition
The latter part of October was dedicated to the usual instructor assessments for AAPGAI which were held down in Wales, and a great weekend it was too with eight instructors passing their qualifications, four of whom were new members. This was followed by our well attended biannual open day event, which included a variety of fantastic demonstrations on a wide range of fishing related subjects from rod building to fly dressing and on to single and double hand fishing techniques, all delivered by several of our current AAPGAI instructor members. 

A Demo on Split Cane
If you have never attended one of these AAPGAI open days you should, as its a great day out. The next one is to be held at the Friars Carse Hotel in Dumfries & Galloway on June 13th 2020. To book your place details can be found here. It would be good to see you there!

In the meantime, as the rivers settle down again, (fingers crossed) we will be out there once again targeting Grayling and hopefully the big waters won't have done too much damage and we will be able to find a few good pockets of fish for some great winter sport. Here's hoping!

Christmas Vouchers
On a final note, don't forget that vouchers are available once again for those special Christmas presents for friends and family who would like to come fishing in 2020, or simply enhance their current casting skills, especially if they have never fly fished before, it's the ideal gift. Just drop me a line if you want to arrange this, or click here for further details.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Shows & Tuition, but not much Fishing

A good Trout on tinted water
Plenty of rain in August, with the only exception being the August Bank Holiday, and as the river was high again I took a couple of days off to take advantage of the good weather. 

However, there were a few good Salmon waters from time to time, especially as the water levels dropped and cleared, but the problem was, as soon as they did begin to drop the rain came back with a vengeance lifting the river again and again, making conditions very unsettled, "Never a great scenario for good results".

Dark Clouds at the Galloway Fair
Despite this there was still the odd Salmon caught, along with a few very good trout days too, especially when the water was falling with a slight tint to it, which always encourages some interest to the fly, but on the whole not the best all round conditions.

However there was always something happening in August, as the majority of days were either taken up with tuition sessions, or introducing youngsters to angling through Borderlines, with the rest of the time spent at local Shows, i.e. the Lowther Show and the Galloway Fair, providing demonstrations and tuition for the public. See below left as one of our instructors teaches a youngster how to Roll Cast at the Lowther Show on day one!

Clark Colman (AAPGAI
Needless to say that both shows experienced periods of heavy rain, with the latter going ahead with little effect when compared to the Lowther Show, which unfortunately had to be cancelled on day two because of the conditions under foot, making it difficult to both access and exit the Show in vehicles due to the deep mud.

Looking forward to September now, I don't know where this season has gone, but hopefully we can enjoy some better runs of back end salmon than in recent years as we have several days already planned to test the water, so to speak!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

High Temperatures in July

Alan landing a nice trout
July saw some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded here in the UK, which seems to be becoming the rule as the years progress, and Cumbria itself is certainly no exception to this rule as we too encountered those very warm, muggy nights, which often make it very difficult for those anglers venturing out for Sea trout in the early hours. 

Whilst these uncomfortable conditions don't always stop you catching a few fish, the water temperatures are often far too high for great results as fish become more lethargic due to lower than normal oxygen levels, some evenings giving the impression that you could take a warm bath in it. 

However, as luck would have it, we did eventually get some fresh water through the system, more so just recently, which has certainly helped our cause, and according to the forecast we still have more to come, which is encouraging.

That said, the river did see a good influx of Grilse at the beginning of July and those of you who have recently been out fishing with me (especially on the tidal reaches) will have witnessed this yourselves, along with some very sizable multi-sea wintered fish showing themselves too, so I am hoping this recent water, and the water still to come, will soon trigger an increase in catches, I don't see why not!

Jeff with the fruits of his labour
Apart from the usual fly fishing forays and several Borderlines youth days, most of June and July have been taken up with casting tuition sessions, which I always enjoy, and its good to see that many of you are very keen to improve your techniques in anticipation of those red letter days lurking in the wings. I must admit though, it's always nice to put a well presented line out just before catching a good fish, it's a great feeling, as shown by Jeff in the video above, a regular visitor to the Eden, as he puts out a nice line!

Lowther Fishing Island News

Not long now before the Lowther Show here in Cumbria, and also the Galloway Country Fair in Dumfries and Galloway, both events are held on consecutive weekends in mid August where we are involved in the fly casting demonstrations and the tuition areas. These shows are great social events too, so if you are in these areas on, either the 10th & 11th of August, or the 17th & 18th August respectively, then it would be great to see you there for a good chat and a catch up. "Tight Lines" to you all.

Here's looking forward to seeing a few of you there!

Friday, 31 May 2019

May Paves the Way

A well earned Brown for Charles
Although very inconsistent in terms of the weather, May, (as per usual) didn't disappoint, and given that the trout were difficult to tempt at times, especially when some good fish were obviously in attendance visually, we certainly had several sessions where they did oblige, especially when fishing the dry fly, which is always an exciting prospect.

Another on the Dry
It was noticeable that the trout were at their most indecisive when the weather coincided with the colder winds on the surface, which often seemed to curtail the insect life and put the fish down. During these periods the gold head nymphs were more effective, searching the nooks and cranny's of the sub surface areas where the trout were tucked away. The goldheads saved the day on a few occasions throughout the month, but as soon as we saw any hint of surface activity, albeit for short intervals, on several occasions, we generally managed to achieve some kind of interest to the dry fly, which was very satisfying!

Brown trout to Richards Dry
That said, during the slightly warmer periods, as the wind calmed down, there were more obvious signs of potential dry fly opportunities with a variety of Upwings on the water. Earlier in the month we saw a few Iron Blues and then as the month progressed we saw more Olive Uprights, and often encountered several very noticeable Large Brook Duns sailing past as we covered the rising fish. In addition to these Upwinged flies, we did witness a good smattering of Sedges (Caddis Flies) from time to time too.

Mike with one on the Goldhead Nymph
Salmon continued to be caught in the early part of the month too, especially on the lower river, (as before) but as the water levels continuously dropped away they became much more difficult to catch, and even though we were still seeing fish in the beats, it was obvious that they were becoming more and more agitated as they await fresh water entering the system to get them going again.

Back to a dry for Steve
However, we did get a lift of water at the end of May, but nowhere near enough to get the salmon interested again, in fact, because of the extended period of low water we have experienced, this small rise simply lifted the algae and weed from the rocks that had accumulated there as a result of this and suspended it in mid water, thus propelling it downstream and causing a couple of days of very difficult salmon fishing on the fly. 

"A good lift of water would be very welcome now to flush the river through and help improve the salmon fishing as we move into June".

Bluebells along the River Bank
On the up side, if you like fishing in beautiful surroundings, this longer, slightly cooler period, has most certainly encouraged the Bluebells to stick around for a bit longer this year, and whilst we have been enjoying some good trout fishing there has also been some amazing views along the riverbanks as a result of this as this years Bluebells have really taken hold. Great to see and always a bonus!

Borderlines Day
Some very enjoyable Borderlines days with the kids this month too, including a few school classroom sessions exploring the history of angling (amongst other things) and how we came to be using the equipment we are using today. However, the highlight of this months youth sessions has been the Rainbow trout fishing on a new Stillwater venue, specifically donated to us by the Buccleuch Estates in SW Scotland for the benefit of the youngsters we are introducing to angling and the environment. A big thank you to Buccleuch Estates!

Finally, here's hoping we get the opportunity (conditions permitting) to do a bit of Sea trout fishing at night this year, during the months of June and July, which is always something that can get the heart pumping, especially if these hard fighting fish decide to give us some exciting sport.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

April into May

Trout & Salmon Magazine
As expected, April did eventually warm up, but it certainly took its time! The trout are only just now beginning to show a proper interest in our offerings, but fly hatches are not exceptional apart from some steady hatches of Grannom from time to time.

April kicked off with a very enjoyable rod test for the Trout & Salmon Magazine which can be viewed in the May edition of the publication. The test consisted of a variety of 13' to 13' 6" rods for a range of applications. Some really nice rods in the mix which we put through their paces with a good selection of fly lines.

In between tuition sessions we travelled up to the river Tay on our annual pilgrimage to represent AAPGAI (Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors) as part of the joint AAPGAI / SANA (Scottish Anglers National Association) assessment team. The aim was to assess potential SANA candidates taking their SGAIC (Scottish Game Angling Instructors Certificate) qualification. A great weekend was had by all (with good weather for a change) with a 50% success rate as 6 out of 12 candidates successfully gained their certificates. Well done to them!

One of several fresh lower Eden fish
Back home on the Eden, it was good to see a few spring salmon being caught, with the majority of fish being double figure fish too, just like the one in the picture on the left courtesy of David Pinner who fishes the tidal beat I lease on the lower Eden, and whilst the river is now low once more these tidal reaches are still doing well given that these very fresh fish are now having to wait around for fresh water before continuing their journey upstream.

Another good sign yesterday was the amount of silver smolts dropping down the river in an attempt to make it back to sea, and only yesterday I had to stop fishing as I was catching too many of these valuable fish on their important journey, and I must say, they were good quality smolts too, with the majority being in the 7" to 8" range. Lets hope they manage to avoid the multitude of fish eating birds we are now seeing on our rivers and that their journey is a successful one!

David's well chewed fly 
Plenty of fishing days booked in for May, so fingers crossed that what is often a very fruitful month lives up to our expectations. May is probably my favourite Month of all, especially after a very fickle April as things start to come to life on the river and hatches improve encouraging the trout  to be a little more accommodating. A lift of water wouldn't go a miss either to encourage some of those lower river salmon to populate some of the upper reaches. Watch this space!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Unsettled Weather throughout March

Steve with his first River Brown
March was certainly one of those very unsettled months which threw a variety of conditions at us, from cold winds to sleet, snow and heavy rain, but luckily we also had a few days when the weather was a little more forgiving and afforded us some quality time for a bit of casting tuition too, and following the opening of the trout season on the 15th March, we also picked up one or two nice fish during a couple of tuition / fishing sessions. It is always a bonus when those simply coming to improve their casting also get the opportunity to experience the end product.

For the most part of March the water always seemed to be a bit on the high side for fishing, especially on the lower river, although the latter half of the month did throw up a salmon or two, from different beats along the river, and the trout fishing also picked up towards the end of the month. With the long term forecast looking much better, April and May are certainly looking more promising, as is often the case.

An AAPGAI indoor presentation
The recent AAPGAI weekend (mentioned in my last blog) went very well indeed. We were so lucky with the weather given that the forecast was atrocious, and it certainly was in many of the surrounding areas, however the turn out was very good considering that some people living further north could not make it to the event at all, being as some routes were inaccessible due to the snow. However we managed to put on some great indoor presentations as well as a few outdoor demonstrations, whilst the worst of the weather skirted around us. The next open day event will be held in Wales in October, so if anyone is interested please let me know and I will send you details.

Given that conditions are set to improve significantly, and the signs are all there too, with some varying hatches of Large Dark Olives now coming off which are always a good indicator, and a good early season fly that regularly attracts some decent trout. I have therefore been doing the usual improvements on the lower beat following the damage caused annually by the higher waters and we now have several river sessions arranged for both salmon and trout fishing down there. Can't Wait!

Improvements on the Lower Eden
As you will see from the calendar on my website, shown here: (Available Dates) my April dates are still reasonably available, but May is well on its way to being fully booked up with just a few days left, so if you are considering a day or two in May, or even a casting session, please let me know a.s.a.p. and I can reserve one or more of the remaining dates for you whilst there are still some left.

Looking forward to getting back into full swing again with the usual casting sessions and some good fishing sessions as the season warms up and the fishing comes into its own once again. I will see many of you soon and "Tight Lines". to all.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Welcoming the New Season!

Patagonia Sea Trout
As we move into March I know those trout anglers amongst you will be itching to get out again, anticipating some good trout fishing forays later in the month, especially if this good weather continues, hopefully encouraging some early insect hatches on the river. Don't worry it won't be long now before the season is in full swing affording us the opportunity to target some good fish once again.

The early season weather has been quite warm, to say the least, but several rivers have already reported a few salmon being caught, although not yet in any great numbers. That said, in recent times that's not unusual with better catches being recorded from April onward.

Patagonia Brown.
However to be perfectly honest I cannot comment in too much depth on the February fishing this year as I took the opportunity to fish in Patagonia for Sea Trout and big browns, therefore I managed to miss most of the February fishing in the UK. That said, it was a fantastic experience and one I would recommend to any angler thinking of doing so, although I am now a little lighter in the pocket area than I was before. 

Whilst the fishing season on the Eden is just getting underway, (apart from the tuition side of things given the exceptional weather) I also took the opportunity to help out on the River Nith open day event on Monday the 25th, on the Carnsalloch beat of the river where we were all piped down to the water by a lone Piper to bless the river and celebrate the new season there. A very pleasant experience!

River Nith Open Day
Back on the River Eden again tomorrow though, delivering another casting lesson, so hopefully the weather will stay good and I can keep an eye out for any early moving fish in anticipation of March 15th when the new trout season kicks in.

As it happens I will miss the first couple of days of the Eden trout season this year as I will be attending an AAPGAI assessment event at the Friars Carse Hotel in Dumfriesshire where we will be holding another open day for the public, so if any of you are going to be in the area on Saturday the 16th March, why not come along to the Friars Carse Hotel and take advantage of the knowledge and skills of the professional AAPGAI instructors in attendance who will be delivering demonstrations throughout the day in both Fly dressing and fly casting in the hotel and it's grounds. 

The Friars Carse Hotel (AAPGAI Open day)
It will be great value for money at £50 per head which includes a buffet lunch as well as coffees and teas, and if you so wish there will be one to one tuition included in the price, or you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the free flowing information available to all. Click Here for further details, including directions, and I look forward to seeing some of you there on the day:

Hope to see you all soon and "Tight Lines" for the New Season!